Caught in the middle of a war, two teenagers take shelter from a divided world. Elodie is French and 17. Otto, a German soldier, is 15. Safe from the debris outside, they meet secretly for one night. They talk, tease, and touch. They fall in love and fall through time. Kalnejais’ kaleidoscopic play is a story of uncomplicated first love in a very complicated world. It seeks out tenderness amidst tragedy. Hope in the hopeless.
September 10th, 2022
October 23rd, 2022
By: Rita Kalnejais
Director: Jack Serio
Cast list: Francesca Carpanini (as Elodie), Angelina Fiordellisi (as Angelina), Austin Pendleton (as Austin), Uly Schlesinger (as Otto)
Design: Frank J. Oliva
Lighting: Stacey Derosier
Costume: Ricky Reynoso
Sound: Christopher Darbassie
Other info: Projection design by Lacey Erb
Wheelchair access, restrooms
After an acclaimed New York premiere earlier this year, Rita Kalnejais's This Beautiful Future returns off Broadway to the Cherry Lane Theatre. Get This Beautiful Future tickets on TodayTix.
This Beautiful Future is set in German-occupied France during World War II. There, a romance is blossoming between teenagers Elodie and Otto. Their romance has the star-crossed quality of Romeo and Juliet meets Liesl and Rolf of The Sound of Music: Elodie is a French citizen and Otto is a German soldier, indoctrinated into the Nazi party from youth. Elodie knows he's the enemy, but she doesn't realize his personal role in the war's death toll. Likewise, Otto doesn't understand that the real word for the "cleanliness" he and his fellow soldiers are working toward is "genocide." But in an abandoned room, the two are just naive children falling in love for the first time, neither fully understanding how they're being destroyed.
Their story is framed by two older actors, who sit in recording booths and share their memories, their regrets, the ways they wish their lives were different, and the things — like the electricity of first love — they wish they could get back. They also bridge the gap between decades by singing songs from both Elodie and Otto's time, and today. They make This Beautiful Future a play about treasuring life's beautiful moments while we have them, and it urges us to retain some measure of hope even time goes by, people grow older and wiser, and the world turns cruel.
This production of This Beautiful Future off Broadway is only the play's second New York showing, after going up at Theatrelab in January. But it's had an even longer life across the pond. This Beautiful Future had its world premiere in London in 2017 and was revived there in 2021; both productions received critical acclaim. A review of the original production in The Guardian reads, "It reminds us that we all become ghosts of our younger selves who once fizzed with the excitement of being alive and in love. We need to hang on to that feeling: the future may depend on it."
Get tickets to This Beautiful Future in New York on TodayTix.
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